News and Notes from Commissioner Betty A. Rosa – 08/28/2023

News and Notes

August 2023
Dear Colleagues,
Commissioner Betty A. Rosa
It’s hard to believe, but the first day of school is right around the corner! I hope you have had a chance to relax and recharge with family and friends this summer. I know you are all now hard at work readying for the new school year. Here at the New York State Education Department (NYSED), we are also focused on a successful start to the school year, and I hope the updates below are helpful as you prepare to welcome students back to school.

Guidance on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Earlier this month, NYSED and New York Attorney General Letitia James issued guidance reminding New York public schools and local education agencies of their obligation to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in educational planning and decision-making. Students cannot learn and develop socially and emotionally when they feel disconnected, intimidated, harassed, or discriminated against. We have a responsibility to remove the barriers that stand in the way of success for many students, and we must do all we can to foster a safe, supportive environment where all New York State students feel included and welcome.
The joint guidance issued this month offers recommendations for upholding the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in three key areas of the school experience:

1.      learning and teaching;
2.      student discipline; and
3.      addressing bullying and harassment.

We urge every school district to reflect on local policies, strategies, and tactics and advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to ensure all students have the supports necessary to be fully engaged. The joint guidance provides resources to help create a school environment that protects every student’s right to access equal education.

NYSED Hosts Governor Hochul for School Grant Announcement

On August 3, the Board of Regents and NYSED were pleased to host New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, state and local lawmakers, and our partners in education and stakeholder groups, including New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) President Melinda Person, at the historic State Education Building in Albany. The Governor announced $108 million in funding, which will allow for school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) to address student well-being and learning loss in response to the trauma brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding includes $50 million per year over two years in competitive funding awarded between the Mental Health RECOVS Grants and Learning Loss RECOVS Grants, as well as $8.3 million in grants to create school-based mental health clinics. Learn more about the 2023-2025 New York State RECOVS: Recover from COVID School Program.

2023 P-3 Summer Institute

This month, in partnership with the New York State Office of Children and Families, NYSED hosted the 2023 P-3 Summer Institute at the Cultural Education Center in Albany. The annual P-3 Summer Institute – which was held in person this year for the first time since before the pandemic – brought together more than 220 teachers, specialists, and administrators from across the state who are responsible for designing early education programs. The event featured keynote addresses from nationally renowned experts in early learning and reading. Chancellor Young and I also had the pleasure of speaking about the importance of early childhood education, including early literacy and math skills that provide a strong foundation for academic success. Breakout sessions focused on research-based practices and the science of reading to effectively support young children’s learning and development.

PLAN Pilot School Applications

Applications are now available for schools and programs interested in participating as a PLAN Pilot School. Visit our Applying to Become a PLAN Pilot School webpage for information and guidance, including the application timeline.

The PLAN Program is studying how best to support networks of schools and educators in shifting their instructional practices and improving school culture in a way that better prepares and supports ALL students for college, career, and civic readiness. The PLAN Pilot provides the opportunity to explore how performance-based approaches can be implemented in a diverse range of schools, as part of an assessment strategy that incorporates multiple measures.

You can visit the PLAN Pilot webpage to find general information about the PLAN Pilot, and the PLAN Program Description webpage to learn about other ways interested schools and educators can engage in this work.
Listserv subscribers will be notified when Mentor School applications become available. Join the PLAN Pilot listserv here.

Please submit additional questions to by Thursday, October 5 for inclusion in our Q&A process. Answers will be posted on our website the week of October 16.

New York State My Brother’s Keeper Fellows Visit Martha’s Vineyard

Over the summer, five of our exceptional New York State My Brother’s Keeper Fellows had an opportunity to participate in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Camp on Martha’s Vineyard. The students participated in STEM-related activities and received mentorship and counsel from prominent national leaders, including Hon. Marc Morial, former Mayor of New Orleans and President of the National Urban League; Broderick Johnson, former White House Cabinet Secretary; and Eric Holder, former United States Attorney General. While on the island, the students experienced the thrill of a lifetime when they were able to meet and have a Q and A with former President Barack Obama!

I hope this information is useful as you gear up for the start of the new school year. Enjoy the last few days of summer break!
Betty A. Rosa